Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Space Shooter + Newtonian Physics + Tower Defense = Last Jungle in Sector 17

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am joined by Lennart Rikk who has brought us Last Jungle In Sector 17.  Thanks for joining us today Lennart!  

Hey, thank you for inviting me to this interview. We really do feel privileged to be featured on your site. I’m the project’s designer and animator, I also did the level designs for the demo.

Last Jungle In Sector 17 is an odd title for a game, can you tell us about about the game and where the title comes from?  

Last Jungle In Sector 17 is a new take on the traditional top-down view space shooter with added RTS elements, some of the games it relates to are Subspace, Star Control and classic Asteroids.

The title comes from the story, I agree it is a little long, but we couldn’t just use “Last Jungle” because the game isn’t about the last jungle in the universe. However it is about the last jungle in that specific sector of the universe.

The game is about Ryder, a fighter craft pilot, who, after a large battle, ends up on an abandoned space station. He is cut off from rest of humanity and is without communications for months. At that time he gets acquainted with the on-board neural network AI “Johnny” . Together they try to work out ways to contact the outside galaxy. At one point the space station is found by the enemy. They then have only each other to rely on in order to survive the hostile assault.

Having played some of the playable demo I can see why you’ve had people say your game is just another bullet hell shooter game.  What do you have to say to dissuade people of that idea?  

Excellent question, I think, when looking at the trailer, it might look like “just another bullet hell” and let’s not forget “generic”, but this kind of RTS/space shooter combo has not been done before. To be successful in the game, the player has to use strategy combined with skill.

There’s not a huge amount of tower defense going on in the demo, what do you have planned to expand on the concepts shown?  

Well, first of all, I think the demo is not very well optimized, both engine and gameplay wise, it’s just a prototype, so first thing, we want to fix that.

We also want to bring in RPG elements, so the player would be able to upgrade his craft and assets (turrets, allied crafts).

If we are to reach some of the stretch goals, then things like special in-game missions and colossal enemy crafts with their own turrets and fighter crafts are planned.

You mention there’s a full story to be told with this game done with graphic novel cutscenes, how far along are you on the story and the cut scenes?  

The story is basically set - we know what we want to tell, the “sketch” is there. We have also started drawing the frames for the cutscenes and I’d say we are halfway there with those, but a lot of work and touching up still remains.

This all seems ambitious for a Flash game, what made you decide to use Flash for the game? x As a flash game what is there to download for our “copy” of the game?  Or are you just locking the game away on your site behind a Kickstarter wall?  

We wanted to create a game on the platform which we are most familiar with. Flash is a great platform, the testament to that should be the number of Flash games out there. Flash can easily export .exe files that can be run locally without a browser.

I don’t know how many, but there are Flash games sold on Steam (Machinarium is one I know for sure). So for backers we will send a copy of the game which they can play locally.

I see you’re on Steam Greenlight, how is that working out?  

I’m not going to lie, we are not doing that great. Some of the reasons I think are that we haven’t gotten much visibility for it. Also the trailer options on Greenlight are working against us, since we must show our game at such small scale that the details don’t come out very well and the game ends up looking quite bland on the trailer.

One of my biggest bugaboos is budget breakdowns.  They prove you’ve seriously outlined and calculated your costs and are prepared to present them to your backers.  Why don’t you have one?  Where is the $5,000 going?  

I wouldn’t agree that’s 100% correct, we are stating on our primary goal section what the money does for us. “Primary goal of $5000 adds to the pot of finances we have already put aside ourselves and buys us time to create the base game and do the following before this year ends.”

To explain further - we have almost all the skills needed to make this game, so we need it cover our living costs (food/shelter) and also to license music and sound effects.

How did you discover Kickstarter?

Through the media and I think the first time I heard of it was through Reddit. In the beginning I was a little sceptical about it, but when I heard about projects like Carmageddon remake and Star Citizen I was sold.

A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

Right now we have mostly posted news about articles and gameplay videos relating to the game.

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

To be honest, we haven’t received much attention at all, I have emailed specifics about our game to 90+ news sites, have our own press kit, made forum posts, and also have all the usual social outlets(Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, IndieDB, Forums). I never imagined the indie scene to be so tough. Right now we have 3,966 video views for 20 days and are really struggling to increase it.

I have looked into Kicktraq, but it doesn't tell me anything we don’t know already.

Right now we are thinking of creating a community game where the winner gets to design a campaign for the game and feature 3 characters of his own choice in there.

Also we are very grateful for the chance to be featured in Kickstarter Conversations.

You're quite welcome. Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

1. Have an EXTREMELY good and unique idea.
2. Build a large following beforehand.
3. Ready your press kit before you launch your project.

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

Thank you for reading this far, stay safe and have fun :)

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

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